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“All First Class Houses in their Line”

James M. Shanahan, Illustrated Catalogue of Undertakers' Hardware and Trimmings, 1869

James M. Shanahan, New York, NY, Illustrated Catalogue of Undertakers’ Hardware and Trimmings with separate price list

The Illustrated Catalogue of Undertakers’ Hardware and Trimmings by James M. Shanahan includes a variety of coffin accessories. The company, established in 1858, was located in New York, NY.  According to the catalog, they imported “directly from Manufacturers in Europe.” 

This 1869 catalog includes a selection of coffin handles. Some are simple and others are more detailed. The handles are silver plated or white metal with designs such as crosses, three leaf clovers, vines, flowers, and lambs. Prices range from $2.25 to $13.00 per dozen pairs. The catalog also shows coffin plates in the shape of rectangles, crosses, and ovals. Other products available from this catalog are robes, ladies’ caps, gloves, horse head plumes, and horse nets.

The last few pages of the catalog include advertisements from other companies which James M. Shanahan describes as “all first class houses in their line.”  The advertisements are for a variety of products such as furniture, cabinet hardware, coffin wood, and varnishes.—Alexia MacClain

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